In chapter 4, of Love Medicine how does Lulu describe right and wrong?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Four of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, Lulu has gone to live with her uncle, Nanapush, and his wife Margaret Kapshaw, called Rushes Bear, having left the government school at last. Lulu loves Nanapush, and hates Rushes Bear, who hated her first.

The thought comes to Lulu that she will go to meet Moses Pillager. He is a neighbor, but also a cousin. Her uncle describes him as a ghost. He tells the story of how his mother saved him from death of a sickness that worked its way through the tribe. She pretended he was dead, completing the rituals for the dead, so the spirits would be tricked. (She did not even use his real name.)

Moses survived, but Nanapush says that there was a price for this: he was never the same. When the "coughing sickness" came (whooping cough?), he left; when he returned the next winter, he wore patched clothing, walking like a cat, but "backwards." Nanapush never speaks out against him, though Rushes Bear is strongly opposed.

Lulu thinks her uncle hopes that Moses will "tame [her] wild heart." She recalls,

Nothing would look the same after loving Moses Pillager. Right and wrong were shades of meaning, not sides of a coin.

I take this to mean that Lulu went through a change, where right and wrong was not as easy to see as before—when things were black and white to her young mind. She turned a corner, coming face-to-face with the intricacies of adulthood where the lines between right and wrong begin to blur, and are based more on perceptions and experience rather that set rules.

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Love Medicine

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